Rwandan Fashion designer Cedric Mizero was recently invited to London, where he is showcasing his works.
The designer, who is gradually making himself a name, first for his unique abstract approach in fashion, yet taking concepts to the rural areas of Rwanda in line with his ‘Fashion for All’ approach is showcasing at 180 The Strand in London.
Dubbed A New Life in the Village, the exhibition is a continuation of Mizero’s prolonged work with women in rural Rwanda that seeks to attract public attention to the issues surrounding their reality.
The exhibition highlights some of the challenges and responsibilities faced by rural women in their relationship with medicine.
This exhibition is initially inspired through a personal experience after his mother suffered stomach complications, but continuously took the medicine wrongly, without knowing it. Mizero believes most people in rural areas will take medication, but may be doing it wrong.
The exhibition, which kicked off late October goes on till late December, strikes a deeper reflection on the debate around medication in the rural African society.
The body of work expresses an artistic commitment to drawing attention to the plight of the “often invisible humans” in rural areas.
His artistic approach through storytelling aims to spark debate among diverse audiences interested in the realities of rural Africa, then share the same globally from a cultural perspective.
In recent years, the penetration and access to medicine in rural areas has led to increased use and consumption of contemporary remedies and are fast replacing traditional remedies.
In his final works, Mizero’s outfits are crafted out of lighter fabrics, of mostly linen of brighter colours and recycled material like blankets Blending with nature Wires are used to complement the shapes to his designs.
This is inspired and takes shape through whichever specific theme it addresses. He dresses the models in these brightly-coloured designer outfits, then they pose for photo shoots, while holding medicine.
His outfits are inspired by nature, and natural settingslike trees, creatures such as butterflies. He also fuses the settings into his general composition.
Indeed, one of his images encompasses a scene at a lake, where the fishermen are the models in the background, while one of the women takes the lead.
Without undermining the positive aspects of this new reality, this exhibition intends to question what this medicine revolution meant for people living in rural areas, and what challenges and responsibilities women face when they are literally cornerstones of the family unit.
The designer who has before struck a chord through his fashion shows at the Kigali Fashion Week and Collective RW, continues to stick to his inspiration to take fashion to the people, where he is in turn inspired to develop even more appealing pieces.
In February, Mizero showcased in London’s International Fashion Showcase, in a project that brought together 16 budding international fashion designers and incorporated under a business development programme lead by London College of Fashion and a creative residency within Somerset House Studios in London.
Out of his savings from his fashion commissions, Mizero has since 2015 toured villages out of Kigali, where he started out ‘Fashion for All’, a campaign that has seen him visit families.
He then presents his ideas about fashion, designs outfits, dresses the people, and after taking pictures of them, he sets out to make the fashion theme known afar.
From this concept, he has sparked debate about several issues affecting society, while interweaving these with contemporary fashion, which to most people had seemed foreign and inaccessible.